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History of the Mud Bay Presbyterian Church

Bob Reimer, June 2018

Mud Bay Church

Mud Bay Presbyterian church
Corner of Wade Road and Semiahmoo Trail
(44th Avenue and King George Boulevard


In 1861, James Kennedy cut a trail from Oliver's Slough in Mud Bay to the Brownsville wharf, near the current Great Northern Railway tracks, opening the region for settlement. When British Columbia became a province in 1871, the government wanted to open new areas for settlement and let a contract in 1873 to open the Semiahmoo Trail from Brownsville to Semiahmoo (Blaine) into a wagon road. Scott Road (120 Street), named for its contractor, wound its way from Brownsville to Mud Bay by 1875. McLellan Road (#10 Highway) was built from 1875-76, further opening the area.

In 1873, William Woodward pre–empted land along the trail north of the Serpentine River. His home became Surrey's first Government Post Office in 1881, serving also as a stage stop as well as an early meeting place. Surrey itself was named at a meeting held in Woodward's home. Woodward's daughter Elizabeth married Mud Bay farmer John Oliver, who went on to become Premier in 1918. Alexander McDougall settled at Mud Bay in 1873 and the Chantrell brothers arrived in 1874.

Map of location of Mud Bay Church

Mud Bay Church and roads 1875


First Presbyterian Church, Victoria, B.C., was the first Presbyterian Church in British Columbia. The church in Victoria was served by these Ministers, 1861–1865 Rev. John Hall, Rev. Thomas Somerville, D.D., Rev. John Reid, Rev. R.H. Smith, Rev. David Gamble, Rev. Donald Fraser, M.A., Rev. John Campbell, M.A., Ph.D., Rev. Robert Jamieson, B.A Rev. Alexander Dunn, D.D., Rev. George Murray, M.A, Rev. William Clyde, Rev. Donald MacRae, D.D., Rev. John Goodfellow.

The branches of the Presbyterian Church in the eastern provinces were not united until 1875 and it was some time after that before they were in a position to aid the West. Since his (Simon McGregor, M.A.) efforts by writing of letters were fruitless, he resolved in 1874 to go to Scotland and interview face to face men who might be available for the missionary field. He was very successful in his mission, for he secured four young men for the missionary work. They all arrived in Victoria by the end of August 1875 and with McGregor they organized themselves into the Presbytery of British Columbia in connection with the Church of Scotland.

The moderator of the new Presbytery was Simon McGregor, M.A., the clerk, Reverend William Clyde, and the other members were Reverend Alexander Dunn, Reverend George Murray, M.A, and Reverend Alexander B. Nicholson, A.M.

The meeting then proceeded to allot the fields of work to the newly arrived ministers. Clyde was appointed to Nanaimo, Dunn to Langley, Murray to Nicola and Nicholson to the out–lying districts of Victoria. Each man was introduced to the people of his field by McGregor.

The Church of Scotland had at last in 1875 responded in a generous manner towards supplying British Columbia with missionaries, and once in the field the men could always rely upon having a sympathetic ear to communicate their trials to the Colonial Committee of the Established Church of Scotland.


It began in BC with Robert Jamieson, and St. Andrew''s, New Westminster. Soon after First Presbyterian Church of Victoria, which was frequently without a minister, sought admittance. The Presbyterian Church in Canada granted admittance to both in 1884. Langley, under Dunn entered in 1886 and Mud Bay followed.

Rev. Alexander Dunn and with wife Annie (Kern) Dunn

Rev. Alexander Dunn Rev. and Mrs Dunn

Rev. Dunn's ministry extended to many settlements in the Fraser Valley. Settlements were springing up each year, which increased the number of places on his itinerary. In each settlement, there was a nucleus of Presbyterians. By the end of 11 years he called at Upper Sumas (York Settlement), Matsqui (Maclure Settlement), Mud Bay (McDougall Settlement), Ladner (South Arm), Richmond (North Arm), Maple Ridge, Fort Langley and Langley Prairie.

There were also new settlements in course of formation at Aldergrove, seven miles east of Langley Prairie on the Yale Road; also on the Fraser River, at Jone's Landing, Mount Lehman, St. Mary's Mission and Johnson's Landing, all eastwards from Fort Langley.


Mud Bay, Elgin Church

Mud Bay, Elgin Church

The Mud Bay church was built in 1885 as a missionary outreach from the St Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Fort Langley. Land for the church was donated by Rev. J.B. Chantrell and the church building was erected by volunteers with lumber floated down the Serpentine from New Westminster.

Church land

Mud Bay Church land 4391, School Land 4382

Mud Bay Church Survey

Mud Bay Church Survey

Wade Road was the name of 44th. Avenue in 1885.

In the beginning this church was shared by Presbyterians, Methodists and on special occasions by Anglicans. The Reverend Stewart preached Surrey's first public church service outdoors at Mud Bay in 1875.

Elgin United Church, formerly Mud Bay Church celebrated the Sixtieth Anniversary Service on Sunday, October seventh, 1945 at 2:30 p.m. 1885–1945. Minister: Rev. T.D. Barnett, M.A.


Mud Bay Ministry Roster


This is the oldest extant building in the City of New Westminster and one of the oldest churches in the province. Old St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church is a one–storey plus lower level, wood–frame Carpenter Gothic church, clad in board–and–batten siding with a central square front tower, located on Carnarvon Street. It stands adjacent to the New St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, now the Emmanuel Pentecostal Church, near New Westminster's historic downtown core.

Old St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church is associated with the earliest development of New Westminster. The city grew through successive economic waves that followed the founding of the city by the Royal Engineers as the colonial capital of the Mainland Colony of British Columbia in 1859. After the disbandment of the Royal Engineers in 1863, many of them stayed in New Westminster, building residences and institutions to support permanent settlement; this church was a direct result, and is the city's oldest extant structure. Old St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church is also significant for surviving the Great Fire of 1898 that devastated much of downtown New Westminster. The growing congregation necessitated the construction of a larger new church in 1888–89, and in 1922 the original church was raised and remodeled for use as a church hall and Sunday school, in memory of the parishioners who had fought in the First World War. The alterations compromised the original design, including removal of the tower parapets, but much of the original fabric of the structure was retained and survives to this day.

Opened on December 20, 1863, Old St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church is valued as the first Presbyterian Church to be built in the Mainland Colony of British Columbia, and as a link to the religious faith of many of the city''s first settlers. Presbyterianism was the system of church government by representative assemblies called presbyteries, and was the name given to one of the groups of ecclesiastical bodies that represent the features of Protestantism emphasized by John Calvin, whose writings crystallized much of the Reformed thinking that came before him. The emigration of Presbyterians from Scotland and Ireland throughout central and western Canada resulted in the establishment of numerous Presbyterian churches, seventy per cent of which joined the United Church of Canada when it was inaugurated in 1925.

Old St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church has architectural significance as a fine example of the ecclesiastical Carpenter Gothic style. The windows are particularly finely made and are a testament to the skill of the builder, A.H. Manson. The pulpit, now in the New Westminster Museum, was designed by architects Wright and Sanders, who had successful and prominent careers in Victoria and the Lower Mainland during the 1860s, and to whom the design of this church can be attributed.


The first church was an Anglican Church but occasionally used by Presbyterians and Methodists. Rev. Crickmer held the first services at Derby Town site (Old Fort Langley). February 20, 1859.

St. John the Divine Rev. Crickmer Sketch of Church

St. John the Divine is one of the oldest churches in mainland British Columbia. Its history began with the Gold Rush of 1850–52.

As a result of the discovery of gold in the region and the resulting influx of people, a Crown colony named British Columbia was established in 1858. "Old Fort Langley" was selected as its first capital and was renamed Derby. There was concern by the church authorities in England over the spiritual welfare of the suddenly 'booming' population. This led to the appointing of the Rev. William Burton Crickmer as a missionary to the new colony. The Rev. Crickmer arrived in Derby in February 1859.

The Royal Engineers set about building the parsonage and Church at Derby according to Rev. Crickme'’s plans. The Church was designed after St. John's at Deptford, England, Mr. Crickmer's first curacy. The Church, made of California Redwood, was completed and ready for its first service on Sunday, May 8, 1859. The name of the Parish was Derby and the Church's name was St. John the Divine.

The boom at Derby was short–lived. The first entry in the Church Register was on July 17, 1859; the last entry was January 8, 1860. In the intervening time a new capital for British Columbia had been selected, New Westminster and the population of Derby declined. Mr. Crickmer was sent to Yale to minister there. Bishop George Hills petitioned Governor Douglas to have the church and the parsonage moved from Derby to Yale. The Governor replied that such a move, seventy miles against the fast–flowing waters of the Fraser would be impossible. The church remained at Derby to be used for services by traveling missionaries or, on occasion, by the Presbyterians and Methodists on approval of the Bishop.


St. Andrew's United Church (formerly St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church) has historic, spiritual and aesthetic significance; it is notable for its age, its association with religious pioneers as well as its lasting spiritual connection to the community, and for its Carpenter Gothic Architectural Style. Constructed in 1885, it was the first church to be built in Langley and the second Presbyterian church to be built on the mainland of British Columbia. It was one of the last churches built while the Presbyterian Church was still overseen by the Church of Scotland, a situation which changed in 1887 when that power was given to Toronto. Also significant is its proximity to the Fort Langley Cemetery, Langley's first municipal cemetery, established in 1884, one year before the church was built. The two sites work together to establish an air of sanctity and to reinforce the landmark status of each other.

Rev. James Jamieson

Rev. Robert Jamieson

St. Andrew's United Church

St. Andrew's United Church

St. Andrew's United Church is associated with Reverend Robert Jamieson, who was considered to be a pioneer of the Canadian Presbyterian Church in BC. He was the first minister to practice on BC's mainland, and was the founder of St. Andrew's Church. The community has shared memories of him travelling great distances on foot, by horseback and canoe to preach. Reverend Alexander Dunn, who came to Fort Langley in 1875, convinced the Church to provide funds for the building of St. Andrew's and it was he who named the church.

Pioneer settlers with early connections to St. Andrew's were James Mackie, Langley's first Reeve (warden), who donated land for the building, Thomas Turnbull who built the church, and Henry Hoy of New Westminster who designed the structure. This is the only known building designed by him in the province. Pioneer Henry Wark funded the building of the spire and belfry in time for the opening and dedication of the church. The bell for the spire is valued by the community because of local lore that claims it came from the Hudson's Bay Company Steamer 'Beaver' that used to ply the Fraser River in the 19th Century.


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